Security in Kirkuk public markets handed to a private company

January 6, 2019 at 12:52 pm

Kirkuk- A private security company guards the city’s public markets, December 2018 Photo: KirkukNow

KirkukNow- Kirkuk

A private security company is currently providing security services for public markets in Kirkuk city, in return for monthly taxes taken from shop owners and sellers, who have expressed outrage at the new procedure.

According to a (KirkukNow) journalistic follow-up, five main markets in Kirkuk city is now being guarded by Babylon private company night guards.

Hardi Nabaz, who sells clothes at a makeshift stall, said he had to pay 15,000 Iraqi dinars for the security company. “My whole stuff is only worth 200,000 dinars”, he told (KirkukNow).

“If guarding the marketplaces is bestowed upon a private security company, then what does the police do”, he wondered.

Babylon security company has been providing its services in Kirkuk’s most popular markets, including Domiz, Pzishkan Street, Komari Street, Khani Gawra and Atlas Street.

Rebwar Fryad, a shop owner in Komari Street expressed his resentment saying, “I gave 25,000 to the company for protecting my shop from burglary although such things never happened to me before during the long years I have worked here.”

He said he refused to pay at the beginning but they told him he couldn’t work there unless he pays to the company.

(KirkukNow) has learned that the amount of the taxes vary between 15,000 and 30,000 Iraqi dinars.

Babylon Company security guards Photo: Babylon Company’s Facebook page

Brigadier general Afrasyaw kamil, spokesman to the Kirkuk police directorate said, “At first we were not aware about this company. We were told that a group of armed men have been seen in Komari Street. When we arrived there the chief security guard showed us their authorization papers which indicated that they were permitted to operate by the Iraqi ministry of interior.”

“The security company has been authorized by the Iraqi counter-terrorism service; therefore their work is legal and has been operating in these markets at the request of some shop owners”, Afrasyaw told (KirkukNow).

Hasim Qaradagh, chief security guard of the night shift at Babylon Company stated that they have been assigned to guard some of the city’s crowded marketplaces “in coordination with the Iraqi counter-terrorism units and the local police.”

He denied that they had any affiliations to paramilitary groups, as some media reports have suggested.

Babylon Company officials claim they have provided job opportunities for Kirkuk residents. “The company’s doors are open to applicants from all the different components of Kirkuk who wish to work here as security guards”, said Hasim Qaradagh, adding that they are ready to provide their services in the city’s neighborhoods.

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